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Buenos Aires 18 May 2012

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Today, I had a chance to discover some of the city that is Buenos Aires. I’ll just leave the pictures I took.









Iguazu 17 May 2012

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Iguazu national park, with the amazing waterfalls spanning the border of Argentina and Brazil, was well worth the visit.

Crossing over to Brazil especially to do the helicopter ride, but then getting motion sickness so badly that I missed all the vistas and thought my guts would literally come out through my nose, not so much. But at least my brother enjoyed his birthday present.

No pictures of the latter are included, as I obviously could not take any…









Cemeteries in BsAs 17 May 2012

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Buenos Aires is a hustling and bustling city, with people everywhere. There’s also a healthy fascination with death here, which means cemeteries are a centra part of the city.

I thought I would visit the most famous one, the Ricoleta cemetery on my first day out and about. It is a tiny city within the city, the place where the rich and the noble bury their dead. The tombs are elaborate with statues and ornate glass windows, sometimes covered in cobwebs or in states of disrepair.

Apparently, the per square metre prices for a plot of land in this cemetery far outstrips the real estate prices elsewhere in this most expensive suburb.

The rich and the famous have been laid to rest here, which sadly showed my lack of knowledge on the subject of the rich and famous of Argentina. I found the final resting place of Evita, which was the only name I recognized.

But the walk through the streets lined with death was fascinating and even slightly creepy. I’m just not used to this much death in one place, and after a while I felt I had seen more than enough coffins and memorials for the day.

That did not, however, stop me from walking to the far larger cemetery in Chacarita the next day. This one had been established when yellow fever swept the city, and was less crowded (the streets between graves had car traffic going through it) but far, far larger.

One part almost matched Ricoleta in opulence, with tombs the size of houses. But then there were the far larger areas with simple wooden crosses, and the ‘pigeon hole’ graves along the back wall. Underneath the cemetery was also a type of catacombs, sometimes up to four stories down. On the surface, all you could see were the air vents servicing the graves below.

Much of the fascination with death escapes me. But it was very clear that to have such a large population in one area, which seems to favour some sort of monument in the afterlife, does create a very lovely area in the middle of cities.

If you plan a trip to Argentina, swing by some of the cemeteries to see them for yourself.












Argentine staples 12 May 2012

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Before arriving, I knew Argentina was famous for beef. So my first night here, I was taken to a regular restaurant, where the pride of the country was grilled and served.

And it truly is amazing; succulent and flavorsome. And getting the right cut is (apparently) quite important, with restaurants serving pretty much every part of the cow you might like. Argentina certainly is not the place to be for staunch vegetarians who can’t even stomach other people eating meat!

The next night, we went on a wine tasting adventure at a local wine merchant in Palermo. Absolutely wonderful wine from Mendoza (a region in west Argentina) including the famous Malbec wine, which is expensive, but heavenly. It was absolutely worth it, and a most cordial of evenings.

I also discovered I understand quite a lot more Spanish than I had expected. Bonus!

After wine, we ordered delivery of Empanadas (hot pockets of meat in pastry) which is another Argentina must-have.

I am so far loving the cuisine, and am dying to try more. I think brorsan’s fiancée said it best when describing the local cuisine as an enormous kids’ menu: everything is grilled and fried, delicious and unchallenging (so far)! But perhaps not exactly the healthiest.

But I am sure I will have a chance to find something more challenging soon (like vegetables?) so we’ll see. But good holiday so far.


Airport pickup 12 May 2012

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So, after yesterday’s predictions of a bumpy ride, I have been off to a fine start. On my way to the airport, I realized that I did not know whether my brother would pick me up at the other end. Having neglected to have that conversation, I sent off a text in the hope that he would still get it before I boarded my flight.

Lo and behold, it being in the middle of the night in Argentina, I was not that lucky. So I set out on my holidays not knowing whether the excellent brother, who I know is majorly run off his feet at the moment, would be there at the other end. Or whether I needed an address to get through immigration. Something I did not have either.

The flight was delayed quite a bit in Sydney, as a passenger fell ill and needed to disembark the aircraft. In the mean time, I am hopefully staring at my phone waiting for a sign of life from my brother. When we finally take off, I still don’t have an address or a confirmation that he will be there.

Silly me.

To top it off, when I finally arrive in Santiago de Chile, I realize that probably should have brushed up on the old Spanish skills, as I cannot communicate with anyone. I feel like a total noob as I try to explain to a restaurant that I want a chicken sandwich. I end up with a chicken sandwich (score) and a strawberry juice (what the? But delicious! So double score!). Then onwards to Argentina.

At the airport, I had the most painful immigration officer who had no sense o humor and no patience. Luckily, I had plenty of both, despite having travelled for about 24 hours by this point. And no need for an address to get through (phew)!

Bag arrives without drama. Through security, and voila, I am in Argentina.


Hopeful, I train my little neck to look around.

No insanely tall person is visible above the crowds. I take a little turn around the entrance. Hope is fading fast. No brother. I even check the seats in case he is sitting.


So plan B – I must find a phone to call him.

Soon, I’ve got him on the phone. I am thrilled that I actually have a number for him, because this could have got ugly. And sure enough, dear brorsan is not at the airport. He’s sent the details on how to take a taxi to me after take off. So taxi it is.

When I finally get to brorsan’s apartment, I’m exhausted. Door to door, the trip took 26 hours. But I’m here! And I’m glad to see my brother, finally!

Now for the jet lag…